There's a discernible seventies feeling emerging from the A/W 2011 shows - blame Marc Jacobs' spring collection as the inspiration behind that collective shift. But Charles Anastase has been ploughing that particular furrow for many a season, without ever settling into a rut.
Anastase is a child of the seventies, just about - he was born in 1979, a fact he even prints it on his Rive Gauche-alike labels. Perhaps those very hazy reminisces of the seventies allow for his attenuated silhouette, exaggerated platforms soaring a good eight inches in back as if viewed from a toddler's angle. This season, childhood was indeed Anastase's main inspiration: think fairytales, the gothic architecture of French castles circa Henri I, and all the dragon-slaying white knight accompaniments that go along with those vistas. For Anastase, however, it was the 1370s via the 1970s, or Biba does Bruegel. Duchesse satin Van Eyck frocks had a touch of the Jean Varon to them, elaborately embroidered velvet dresses had raised baby-doll waistlines and a neat empire-line coat and pinafore combo came in a cognac croc reminiscent of dragon scales.
Nostalgia was the watchword - maybe Anastase went on a few school field-trips to those chateaux, and hence packed his collection with peter-pan and piecrust collar blouses, and neat Princess-line tweed coats with velvet revers. The latter was cut directly from a children's pattern, but worn by an adult woman (or the fashion equivalent thereof) the shrunken silhouette looked fresh and appealing. It didn't move the Anastase aesthetic on one iota: we've seen all these shapes and styles before on his catwalks, not to mention back in the seventies. But, regardless, today they proved a satisfying and saleable diversion.